Thanks to Poetry Foundation for running part of the terrific 1980 conversation between John Ashbery & David Remnick

Poetry Foundation

Poetry Foundation

"Issue Four of the Bennington Review is out, and while most of it must be read while holding the actual journal, a few online features dot the table of contents, including a re-presentation of a 1980 interview between John Ashbery and David Remnick. "This historical document captures Ashbery's thoughts and insights just a few years after his trifecta win of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics' Circle Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror," write the editors."

—Harriet Staff

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Originally Published: January 31st, 2018

Check out this rapturous review of Issue 4 contributor Natalie Eilbert's poem "The Lake" by Platypus Press!

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"As a reader, I hope I never lose the sense of wonder that comes from watching worlds unfold from just a few scant lines and breaks swallowed by negative space. There’s a special, charged energy when I read a poem. My expectations (as much as I try to downplay them) are calibrated around an amorphous space of abstraction and observation, of craft and purpose.

Maybe this is why long poems are so very special to me as a reader and a writer. The ability to stay within that space, to push the edges of where a poem wants to go and what it wants to say, for pages and pages is a wonder to me..."

—Nix Thérèse

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Bennington Review's ISSUE THREE: THREAT Reviewed by NewPages!


Jakub Geltner, Cultural Landscape”

Cultural Landscape,” the cover image by Jakub Geltner that kicks off Issue Three: Threat, is a special kind of eye-catcher. A slice of pizza hangs precariously over a table’s edge, its cheese replaced by grass, its toppings swapped for uprooted trees and tumbling cars caught up in some unfamiliar landslide, slipping toward an undefined kind of doom.

The mood set, Editor Michael Dumanis explains that the issue’s theme threat was chosen on November 10, 2016, two days after “a certain historical event.” He writes that, as a result of this sudden sense of dislocation and anxiety, the editors “gravitated toward poems and stories and essays where paradigms where [sic] similarly disrupted, where characters suddenly found themselves destabilized by external forces, where institutions and individuals in which we’d placed our trust failed to hold up their end of the bargain.”

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Congratulations to Lauren Haldeman, Bennington Review web designer and contributor to our Winter Issue, Issue Four, coming soon! Winner of the 2017 Colorado Prize for Poetry!

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 “With an extraordinarily light touch, Lauren Haldeman glides us through the peregrinations of grief and delight with a revivifying play and formal resourcefulness. Instead of Dying shows us that whimsy, that the imagination sustains life.”

—Dean Young

“Each of the seven sections of Instead of Dying delivers singular shocks and unanswerable questions. Guided by great figures in the history of science, these poems court the mystery lying beyond the precision of language and symbols in ‘the spell of the world pouring down.’ Lauren Haldeman’s writing opens us toward the work of mourning. Did I say work? Rather call it song.”

—Susan Howe

“In this searing book, Lauren Haldeman designs a series of intricate afterlives for her lost brother, braiding these memorials with poignant lyrics that chart the personal outlines of grief. Haldeman offers these poems as acts of generosity, but be warned: her ‘crystalline path’ is a sharp one, to be walked not by the dead, but by those left behind to make sense of loss. Instead of Dying is part elegy, part star map, part book of cures. Here, the body may be healed by syringes filled with sunlight, by secret walks in the woods, and above all, by language itself, which emerges, powerfully, to move us toward the light of forgiveness even in our darkest hour.”

—Kiki Petrosino

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Congratulations to all our Bennington Review contributors noted in Best American Stories 2017 and Best American Essays 2017!


Distinguished Story,
Best American Short Stories 2017

Keya Mitra 
“My Child of Stone,” Issue 2


Notable Essay,
Best American Essays 2017

David Stuart Maclean
"Golden Friendship Club," Issue 1

Notable Essay,
Best American Essays 2017

Tanya McQueen
"After Water Comes the Fire," Issue 2

Notable Special Issues of 2017,
Best American Essays 2017

“Misbegotten Youth," Issue 2
Ed. by Michael Dumanis


Bennington Review welcomes novelist and memoirist Benjamin Anastas as our Fiction Editor!


Benjamin Anastas is the author of the novels An Underachiever’s Diary (Dial Press) and The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance (FSG). His memoir Too Good to Be True (Little A) was a national bestseller. His essays, reviews, short fiction, and other work have appeared in The New York Times MagazineHarper'sThe New RepublicThe Paris ReviewThe Yale ReviewBookforum, and The Best American Essays anthology. He teaches literature at Bennington College and is on the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars MFA program. 

Bennington Review takes AWP 2017

Bennington Review will be tabling at the upcoming AWP Conference in Washington, DC on February 8th through February 11th. Stop by table 435-T to pick up a copy of our latest issue, Misbegotten Youth, and swing by our offsite event on Friday: 


Bennington Review and Oversound
present AWP at 51st State


Friday, February 10th, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

  • 51st State Tavern
  • 2512 L St NW, Washington, DC 20037

Free admission. Copies of Bennington Review and Oversound, food, and drinks will be available for purchase. 

Sara Deniz Akant, Ari Banias, Julie Carr, Dan Chelotti, Erica Dawson, Robert FernandezJames Allen Hall, Paul Killebrew, Evan Lavender-Smith, Adrienne Raphel, Lindsay Turner, Candace Williams, Ronaldo Wilson, Jane Wong, Ryo Yamaguchi, and Magdalena Zurawski.

Issue 2 Launch on November 29 in Brooklyn

Editor Michael Dumanis and Managing Editor Chelsea Hodson invite you to join us at 7PM on November 29, 2016, for a BookCourt (163 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201) reading in celebration of Issue 2 of Bennington Review, the Misbegotten Youth issue. Issue 2 contributors Cynthia Cruz, Darcie Dennigan, Alex Dimitrov, Shane Jones, Irina Reyn and Craig Morgan Teicher will read. Wine will be served.

RSVP via Facebook or EventBrite preferred but not required. 

Cynthia Cruz is the author of four collections of poetry: Ruin, The Glimmering Room, Wunderkammer, and most recently, How the End Begins (Four Way Books, 2016). The recipient of a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, she lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College.

Darcie Dennigan is the author of three books, including Palace of Subatomic Bliss (Canarium Books, 2016) and Madame X (Canarium Books, 2012). She lives in Providence and works as a poet-in-residence at the University of Connecticut.

Alex Dimitrov is the author of Together and by Ourselves (forthcoming from Copper Canyon, 2017), Begging for It (Four Way Books, 2013), and the digital chapbook American Boys. He is Senior Content Editor for the Academy of American Poets.;

Shane Jones is the author of the novels Light Boxes, Daniel Fights A Hurricane (Penguin, 2012), and Crystal Eaters(Two Dollar Radio, 2014). He lives in Albany, New York.

Irina Reyn is the author of two novels, What Happened to Anna K. and The Imperial Wife (St. Martin's, 2016). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, One Story, and Post Road. She teaches fiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Craig Morgan Teicher is the author of several books, including To Keep Love Blurry (BOA, 2015) and The Trembling Answers (forthcoming from BOA, 2017). He is the editor of Once and For All: The Best of Delmore Schwartz. He is Director of Digital Operations and Poetry Editor at Publishers Weekly, and serves as Poetry Editor of The Literary Review.

Duotrope interview with Editor Michael Dumanis

Bennington Review Michael Dumanis was featured on Duotrope's Editor Interview series, in which he discussed his aesthetic, his favorite writers, his editing process, and more.

Reposted from Duotrope

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Birds, not birdcages.

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: A Public Space, Black Warrior Review, BOAAT, Boston Review, The Common, Conduit, Copper Nickel, Fence, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, jubilat, Kenyon Review, Lana Turner, Noon, Octopus, The Offing, Oversound, Prelude, Tin House, The Volta, Washington Square, The Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day Series.

Q: Who are your favorite writers?

A: As an editor, I am particularly drawn to writers who are willing to be dazzling and reckless and brutal and lovely, writers whose voices are utterly singular, writers who are willing to take risks with their pieces' architecture and content. Some of the fiction writers I most admire defy narrative conventions and employ language that is both lyrical and fierce. I find myself particularly interested in stories that risk shifting my world paradigm, as opposed to stories that are "relatable." Similarly, poets I like tend to be simultaneously formally tenacious and wildly innovative. I come to poetry because I want to come away seeing and thinking differently, to allow someone else's flights of language and image and idea to affect my own reasoning, vision, and language. Writers who excite me most represent a multitude of perspectives and persuasions, creating work that communicates and celebrates difference, the singularity and pluralism of human experience.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Bennington Review has a long and distinguished history, originally founded in 1966, publishing its last issue (prior to 2016) in 1986, then hibernating for a thirty-year period. Its former editor Robert Boyers referred to it as "a testing ground for contemporary arts and letters." We are drawn to the idea of a journal as a testing ground, and are committed to selecting works that feel unexpected and new, even when they arrive with their edges raw. We feel a strong commitment to the print publication in a digital age, to creating and curating a book, a gallery of pieces to encounter in a particular order that inherently end up in dialogue with one another. We also have a particular interest in contemporary fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by women, writers of color, immigrant writers, and writers residing outside the United States.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Read actively and widely in your genre, both the tradition you are writing into and the contemporaries you are in dialogue with. Don't be afraid to take chances with your language, your imagery, your line-breaks, your characters, your story, your thoughts. Don't be afraid to be interesting. When you surprise yourself with what you have written, you are probably on the right track.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Innovative, intelligent, and moving.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: I am not sure it's a matter of anyone getting anything "wrong," it's just a matter of matching one's work to the tastes and interests of the readers, editorial assistants, and editors. The work in our inaugural Spring/Summer 2016 issue, as well as the work in our forthcoming Fall/Winter 2017 issue, and the work we've featured on our website, would likely give submitters a clear sense of what we're after.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: We like to know who we're corresponding with, so we are interested in what you want to tell us in your cover letter, even though it never affects what we finally decide about your submission. If you've never published anything before, please let us know. If we've encouraged you to try us again on a previous submission that came very close, we definitely meant it, so you should remind us.

Q: How much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: Sometimes you know from the first words of a piece if you want to keep reading. Sometimes you can't put a piece of writing down. Sometimes you can. As a safeguard, multiple readers look at every piece. As long as there is a reasonable chance we will accept the piece, or if another reader liked it, I will continue reading. I read a lot of pieces to the end.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: Every piece goes through multiple readers. If any of the readers like a piece, we all reread it and engage in a group discussion, after which the editor makes a final decision.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: I spend a lot of it chasing my two-year-old son, and a lot of it teaching at Bennington College, and working on my own writing. But every day, I read submissions through Submittable and correspond with writers, at times with my child on my lap. During the academic year, I meet with our editorial assistants at Bennington College once a week. Every week I also meet in Brooklyn with our managing editor. On weekends or quite late at night or very early on weekday mornings I tend to find myself reclining on my living room couch and binging on submissions, usually focusing on one genre at a time.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: Bennington Review is in an interesting position due to the fact that we've revived the journal in 2016 after a thirty-year hiatus. First and foremost, we value the journal's physical existence as a book that can be read from cover to cover, but we also recognize and value the advantages that technology offers. For instance, we like to use social media and our website to feature selections from each print issue in order to open the journal to more readers. We like the global reach that modern technology brings, but, at the end of the day, I still like to read a journal that I can hold in my hands.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: Once a piece is accepted, we rigorously proofread and copy-edit it. We sometimes offer line edits and editorial suggestions, but always as part of a conversation with the author. We make no substantive changes to the content, language, or presentation of a piece without a writer's prior approval.